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United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP)


Commission appointed to deal with the problem of dislocated Palestinians and to help reach a comprehensive peace settlement after the 1948 ArabIsrael War.

Following debate on the Bernadotte report, a UN General Assembly resolution on 11 December 1948 established the Conciliation Commission for Palestine, instructing it "to take steps to assist the parties concerned to achieve a final comprehensive peace settlement of all questions outstanding between them" and to facilitate the repatriation or resettlement with compensation of the Palestinian refugees. The commission was composed of representatives from France, Turkey, and the United States. The commissioners began with a round of shuttle diplomacy in Middle Eastern capitals, held a conference with Arab representatives in Beirut, and then convened a major conference, meeting separately with Arab and Israeli representatives, in Lausanne between April and August 1949. These meetings, along with a further series of discussions in Geneva in 1950, produced little apart from declarations of good intention (including the Lausanne Protocol), preparations to unblock frozen Arab bank accounts in Israel, and a scheme for family reunification.

At a conference of Arab and Israeli delegates in Paris in late 1951, the commission tried but failed to achieve agreement on specific proposals for a peace settlement. After the breakdown of the conference, the commission, convinced that the parties were not yet prepared to make peace, confined its efforts to dealing with the Palestinian refugee problem. Even then, it was able to make only limited progress, mainly on background studies of the technical aspects regarding future compensation. Despite the lack of progress, the commission still exists and the General Assembly still continues to pass annual resolutions calling on it to continue its efforts to carry out its original mandate.

see also lausanne conference (1949).


Azcárate, Pablo de. Mission in Palestine, 19481952. Washington, DC: Middle East Institute, 1966.

Caplan, Neil. Futile Diplomacy, Vol. 3: The United Nations, the Great Powers and Middle East Peacemaking, 19481954. Totowa, NJ, and London: Frank Cass, 1997.

Fischbach, Michael R. Records of Dispossession: Palestinian Refugee Property and the ArabIsraeli Conflict. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Forsythe, David P. United Nations Peacemaking: The Conciliation Commission for Palestine. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972.

Hamzeh, Fuad Said. United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, 19491967. Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1968.

Morris, Benny. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 19471949. New York; Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

fred j. khouri
updated by neil caplan

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